The Council of Regency swore in three new regents, honored the late Phil Schooley, and discussed a return to a sense of normalcy despite COVID-19 at its quarterly meeting on September 3.
SGA Presidents Ian Puckett, Tom Waldrop and Sam Aguiar were sworn in by Calloway County Judge Jamie Jameson.
The board entered into annual board elections. Don Tharpe and Jill Hunt were both unanimously nominated as Vice Chairmen and Secretary.
President Bob Jackson continued the meeting with a report on COVID-19, facilities, financial support for students and the idea of finding a new normal despite the pandemic. Jackson notes that Thursday’s soccer game symbolized a return to normal.
“As we return to a new normal, teaching and learning, campus and student life, athletics and student safety are the issues we focus on every day,” said Jackson. “Last night was a perfect example of this, we tried our best to get back to normal, and last night was a perfect demonstration of that. Everyone longs to come back to get whatever the next or new normal is. “
On other matters, a resolution was passed addressed to the late Phil Schooley and his service and commitment to the state of Murray.
“This resolution of recognition and commemoration will honor Phillip R. Schooley’s longstanding service and dedication to the Board of Regents and Murray State University,” said Chairman Eric Crigler. “In 2009 Schooley was elected by his peers as the Chief of Staff to the MSU Board of Regents, and in 2021 he was elected to an unprecedented fifth term as Chief of Staff to the Board.”
Both the Board of Directors and the Staff Congress have unanimously decided to rename the Staff Excellence Award in honor of Schooley to “Phil R. Schooley Staff Excellence Award”.
“We have a vacancy today and, as you know, Phil served this university for a long time, even long before he was appointed staff regent,” said Jackson. “We appreciate Phil, we will miss Phil, and this university will miss Phil Schooley.”
Jackson said the university is moving in a positive direction towards normalcy following the pandemic and that he is extremely proud of the work done and is pleased that the students are satisfied.
Jackson also spoke about Murray State’s upcoming centenary. The celebrations are still being planned, but should take place in spring 2022.
Regarding vaccination card uploads, Jackson said that once there was a higher number of card uploads, a table of vaccination rate data would be provided.
Although enrollments are still in the middle of a pandemic, the number of enrollments is still constant.
Enrollment management and study success report
- Highest enrollment in the summer course in 10 years
- The number of enrollments in autumn 2021 (all students) was at the level of autumn 2019
- In autumn 2021, enrollments for bachelor’s programs were lower than in autumn 2019, but at the level of autumn 2020
- Student enrollment in autumn 2021 increased by 12% compared to autumn 2019 and higher than in autumn 2020
- Enrollment in fall 2021 covers 48 states and 50 countries
- 66% of students are from Kentucky, with 113 counties represented
- 44% of students are first generation college students
Despite constant enrollment rates, this cannot be said about retention.
A comparison of the enrollments in April 2021 with the autumn semester showed that the enrollment rate has decreased by 56%. With that in mind, Jackson reminded the board that they are all recruiters.
The number of incoming students with college credit hours has decreased due to the pandemic. In the past, around 70% came with credit hours; now that number is around 53%. The credit hours range is 1-80 and the average is 22 credit hours.
The finance committee’s project proposals were then unanimously adopted. These proposals included an electrical infrastructure project, replacing the roof for the William “Bill” Cherry Expo Center, upgrading the HVAC for the commercial building, and plans for a National Pan-Hellenic Council plaza.
This space will be located between the Harry Lee Waterfield Library and the gates on Olive Street. This project is privately funded.
The board then decided to rename two buildings in honor of the former lecturers and staff.
The Hutson School of Agriculture’s Equine Education Center was renamed the Rudolph Equine Education Center after Jim Rudolph, a former regent of the faculty who founded the equine program in 1973. The board plans to dedicate the building during the homecoming in 2021.
The Murray State Golf Training Facility will be renamed in honor of former coaches Buddy Hewitt, Velvet Milkman and Eddie Hunt. The sign with the name of the building indicates that the facility was renamed in honor of the coaches.
In addition, Jerry Shroat, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Murray State University Foundation, was awarded an honorary doctorate.
After serving as interim dean, Dave Eaton was named dean of Arthur J. Bauernfield College of Business.
The next board meeting will take place on December 3rd.